New gambling legislation introduced in Florida
The uncertainty regarding the future shape of gambling in Florida reportedly took another turn late last week after a local Republican lawmaker filed proposed legislation that would allow the southern state’s aboriginal casinos to offer roulette and craps.
According to a report from the Miami Herald newspaper, the measure filed by Florida State Senator Travis Hutson on Friday would also renew a portion of the state’s 2010 gaming compact with the casino-operating Seminole Tribe of Florida that allowed the federally-recognized tribe to offer ‘banked’ card games such as blackjack on an exclusive basis.
In return, the proposed Senate Bill 840 would up the annual payments to the state from the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s seven casinos, which include the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa, by as much as 56% to around $391 million.
If ratified, Senate Bill 840, which is now being considered by a Florida State Senate committee, would additionally reportedly permit dog and horseracing tracks as well as jai alai venues in the state to ‘de-couple’ from a requirement that they must run live sporting events in order to hold a parimutuel license. In addition, the proposed legislation would purportedly drop the tax rate for casinos in Miami-Dade County and Broward County to 30% before reducing it by a further 5% next year.
Finally, Hutson’s proposal would reportedly moreover require horseracing facilities that continue to offer gambling without running live races to carry on making payments to the state’s thoroughbred industry while explicitly legalizing of daily fantasy sports and permitting designated-player games already offered by some parimutual card rooms.
According to a report from The Associated Press news service published by The Ledger newspaper, the Florida House of Representatives is soon set to consider its own fresh proposed legislation on gambling. However, its House Bill 223 is purportedly likely to feature ‘major differences’ when compared with Senate Bill 840 with both bodies having only until early-March to reach a compromise.